A Terrible Poem About My Last Fishing Trip

Awake

More night than morning

All was ready the day before

Long hours on dark abandoned roads

Body on automatic as thoughts flow like the river they are about

Arrive before the glow of the morning sun

Black rocky trails and the roar of unseen water my only companion

Dim light finally filters through the trees

The gorge illuminated

A chill is felt through the waders as I slowly slide in

Buttery golden browns and silvery pink rainbows occupy the mind as I make the first cast of the day

Beautiful drift in complicated currents through likely lie but no takers

Next cast the fly carefully crafted the day before alights on a downed limb

A sharp flick of the wrist and a roll of the line should set it free

SNAP

The rod tip breaks

My favorite rod

My

Favorite

Rod

On my second cast

On

My

Second

Cast

My head hangs low

I stomp back down the rocky path

At the car I realize my backup was left

Long drive home with the sun in my eyes to screaming children and a grumpy wife

Entire bottle of cheap red wine to dull it all

Don’t think it worked

Second cast

Second

Mother

Fucking

Cast

Maybe I should take up golf

Maybe

I

Should

Take up

Golf

No

Golf’s dumb

 

 

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At Least I Know Where I Stand

I was helping my oldest child study for a test recently when I casually mentioned that I never had to learn the particular lesson he was studying. He looked at me and, in a tone that I believe can only be produced by incredibly pretentious nine years old snots, said, “Only the kids in the gifted and talented program learn this, so…”

Well,” I said. “I used to be in the gifted and talented program when I was in school and we didn’t go over this then.”

“What? You were in the GT program when you were in school?”

“Yup.”

“Huh? I didn’t know you were smart.” I think it was the complete sincerity in this comment that made me wish I was fabulously rich so I had a will that was worth writing him out of.

“Believe it or not some people still think I’m pretty intelligent.”

“Really?” More sincerity. “You don’t even have a job. What’s the point of being smart if you don’t use it for anything?”

That was the moment I decided that my oldest son would never be my favorite.

Never.

6 Awful Things I Do (or have done) To My Children

  1. Any time I’m in the car with them and they start talking to me, I slowly turn up the radio until I can’t hear them and shout “WHAT?!? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! THE RADIO IS UP TOO LOUD! WAIT, I’LL TURN IT DOWN!”. I then turn it down, wait for them to start talking and slowly begin to turn it up again.
  2. I put hot sauce on most of my food just to keep them from asking for bites.
  3. I tell them that the baddest of the “bad words” is the X-word. I also tell them anytime we pass a person pulled over by the police that the person the cop is talking to probably got caught saying the X-word and will most likely be going to jail for it.
  4. When I see them in a situation where they’ll most likely get hurt, I judge how bad the accident will be and if it doesn’t seem like it’ll be too bad I just sit back and see how it goes.
  5. Anytime I hear “Where’s Mama?” I tell them that she left for Hawaii (or some other far off location) and I that can’t believe that she forgot to say anything about it.
  6. I sometimes explain the most mundane of natural phenomenons in the most terrifyingly Lovecraftian way I can come up with at the moment, wait for the horror to really sink in and then tell them the truth.

Kid Cuisine

I used to make this dish, usually around the first part of October after a successful deer hunt, where I would take a section of venison loin, season it with little sea salt, fresh ground pepper and just touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and sear it on all sides in a hot cast iron pan until it had a nice caramelized crust. I would then take this loin and stick it in the oven to slow roast. While waiting for it to reach a medium rare I would throw a little butter and a few finely chopped shallots into the pan I seared the loin in, let the shallots soften up a bit and then deglaze the pan with a splash of good bourbon and a half bottle of one of the seasonal pumpkin beers that come out around that time of year. I’d cook that down, add a dash of pumpkin pie spice and some cream, let it thicken up a little bit and serve this sauce with the medium rare loin and a side of homemade sweet potato fries.

Before children this kind of meal wasn’t unusual in my home.

Gumbos, creoles, shrimp  and grits, seafood stews, wild game cooked any and every way I could think of; almost all the ingredients caught, grown or shot by me or someone whose name I at least knew…

Tonight for dinner I had Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets, boxed mac & cheese and frozen broccoli.

This kind of meal isn’t unusual in my house now.

Yay kids.

 

Fear

I’m writing this from the only secure place I can find.

It won’t stay secure for long though.

They’ll find me.

They always do.

I can sense that they’re close even now. I can hear their otherworldly screeching. I can feel the earth trembling footfalls that betray their size and number. I can even smell the odd mix of cookie and human waste that the littlest of the bunch seems to always exude.

I am larger and faster but they outnumber me and their stamina is almost supernatural.

I once had a partner to help fend them off but she went for supplies awhile back and, well, I fear she will never return.

They’re close now. And they’re calling to me in their mocking tone.

“Dad-deeeeeee… Dad-deeee… We know you’re here Daddy… We know where you are…”

I’m so frightened.

And there’s no escape.

Disciplining Children and How You Will Never Do It Right

In reality I’m sure you’re doing a perfectly fine job disciplining your child. You know your child. You know what gets their attention. You know their limits. What they like, what they don’t.

You, you’re doing fine.

Really.

But you know who thinks they can do a better job disciplining your child/children?

Everybody else on Earth.

Or at least that’s how it feels sometimes.

Take your kids to a public place (I like Walmart because there’s always a good mix of individuals and my children lose their goddam minds’ the minute we walk through the door) and watch people’s reactions as you deal with them. You let your children run around and have fun? Side glances and whispered “if those were my kids…”. Tight leashes and telling them to hush? Head shakes and tut-tuts from the hippy skirts and grandma crowd.

In just the last two weeks I’ve had conversations that ranged from “We don’t use the word ‘no’, it’s too negative” to “What’d’a mean you don’t spank your kids?!?! My sister didn’t spank her kids and now one of her boys is jail for meth. Uh-hu…”

Really no matter how you choose to disciplin your own children somebody else will think they can do a better job.

And as far as I can tell, as long as we don’t bring popular religions into this, no one has produced a perfect child yet.

So if what I talked about above has ever gotten to you, just relax because you’re doing a perfectly fine job.

And if you’re part of the judgy side, please keep your head down, mouth shut and unless there seems to be some sort of real abuse going on, mind your own business.

 

Rites of Manhood

One of the many problems the modern westernized man suffers from in this day and age is a prolonged adolescence brought about by the lack of any kind of discernible switch from boyhood to manhood. There are a few things here and there, especially here in the south where I live, that are close to rites of passage; first deer killed, first beer drank, losing your virginity, first time you eat way more hallucinogens that you can possibly handle and find yourself lost in the woods draped in moss, mud and nothing else… These things help but really don’t give you the clear-cut “now you’re a man my son” kind of jolt into manhood that a ritualized ceremony can produce.

These ceremonies are usually based around physical, mental and emotional stress and how well the individual at the center of the ritual can handle them, i.e. if the boy can take the test and remain courageous and calm throughout he will walk away a man.

I believe that I may have discovered, quite by accident, the perfect manhood right for the modern man.

First: go on a prolonged “vacation” with your family.

Second: at the end of this “vacation” pack three young children ranging from one to eight years of age and their mother into a crowded vehicle. Make sure every person in this vehicle has some sort of electronic device and that all devices have their volume turned all the way up to eleven at all times.

Third: drive for at least thirteen straight hours. Make sure that at least four of those hours are spent driving an average of 10mph through major metropolitain areas. It should also be raining the entire time.

Fourth: try to pull into your destination around 1am or so. Make sure all children are wide awake after the very short naps they took in the vehicle.

Final step: walk into destination (note: this step only really works if your destination is your own home) and find that someone has broken in and stolen your kids videogame system and all of your guns.

If you can follow these steps while remaining calm, collected and strong throughout you will walk away a man.

Or it might be easier to put your hand in a glove full of bullet ants…